Bob Littlefield's workday doesn't follow the typical 9 to 5 schedule. Bob takes advantage of Rhode Island's summer peak tourism season with two businesses. He runs a parasailing business as well as a car rental service on Block Island. These jobs keep him busy up to four months of the year, but Bob can't waste the rest of the year.
Bob is that guy who bought a project car before he could drive and had it in cherry condition before he got his license. He started wrenching at a local Chevrolet dealership as soon as he was old enough to work. Just after high school he started his own automotive repair business that he ran for 10 years before the summer jobs grew both in profitability and time consumption. Since then he had an automotive void to fill.
He and his wife, Sarah, bought a home in Charleston, Rhode Island, with a 30x35-foot two-story garage. The house hardly mattered in the sale; they bought the property for the garage. He spent the next year setting up his shop with the specialty equipment needed to produce high-quality cars. His first build with an intention to sell was a '36 Dodge coupe. It was an ultrahigh-end car that he promoted at car shows to sell it and fund his next build. The '68 Camaro convertible he built next propelled his shop to the next level. It was a two-tone showstopper-packed four-corner independent suspension, a leather bathed interior, and a 500-plus horsepower LS3 engine. A segment on SpikeTV's Powerblock with Courtney Hansen covered every inch of the '68, almost immediately bringing him a buyer.
The proceeds from that sale would build the most important car of his career, so far. Bob was itching to build a car to perform but with the attention to detail of the show cars he has handled before. He dug the '68 but chose a '69 for its iconic look. His focus would be on suspension, power, and brakes, key ingredients to a successful autocross car.
Knowing lightness is just as important as power, Bob saved weight where it counted. He started with a car that was 435 pounds nose-heavy, guaranteed to be a sloppy handler. With help from aluminum and carbon-fiber bodywork, and strategically placed creature comforts, he swapped the nose bias for near-perfect front to rear balance.
To stand apart from many of the top competitors, Bob wanted this car to look like a show car from every angle. That meant high quality, and sometimes, heavy components. The typical stripped-down race car with a shiny paintjob wouldn't do. He built a car to fool the audience.
He did just that at this year's Chevy High Performance Street Machine Challenge in Commerce, Georgia. A mere two weeks after the initial fire-up, Bob's '69 landed at one of the biggest competitions of the year. He would have to compete and tune at the same time with his helper Jake Moreau. Moreau lent Bob a hand in the build when a second set was needed, but proved to be quite the driver as well. He scored the fastest autocross time of the day, despite the lack of testing. They were up against some big names with cars that have been up and running for years. The event ended with Bob's '69 in Third Place, an amazing achievement for a first attempt at a performer. With this success in the bag and a handful of top awards at car shows like the CHP Nationals, Goodguys Springfield, and NMCA's LSX Car Show in just one season, Bob knew he was onto something good.
He's pleased with the cars he has built so far and enjoys the pace of one car a year on his own but is looking for something a little different. Rather than building a car and shopping for a buyer, he wants to build a car for a particular customer. To keep up with his projects, check out his website at littlefieldcustoms.com.
Motor & Drivetrain
Quite simply, this car had to be fast. He started shopping at Mast Motorsports, picking the high-end Black Label LS7. This 427ci LS7 boasts 690 hp at 6,400 rpm and 595 lb-ft of torque at 5,600 rpm. The naturally aspired engine runs on 91-octane with 11.4:1 compression up to 7,250 rpm. The bottom end holds Callies H-beam rods, forged crankshaft, Mahle pistons, and a custom Mast grind hydraulic roller camshaft. It's topped with Mast's 12-degree CNC LS7 cylinder heads, intake, and throttle body. Behind it is an American Powertrain clutch and shifter on the T56 Magnum six-speed transmission. The 12-bolt Chevy rearend with 4.10:1 gears and GM Positraction is driven by a custom aluminum driveshaft.
This build started with the sandblasted body on a rotisserie, where it got special undercarriage treatment. Suspension credit goes to Chris Alston's Chassisworks with their g-Machine front clip sporting 500-pound double-adjustable VariShock coilovers, sway bar, rack-and-pinion steering, and Chassisworks spindles. The rear got Chassisworks g-Link rear suspension with more VariShock coilovers and a sway bar. Bob then tied it all together with a pair of Chassisworks subframe connectors, front strut braces, and aluminum body bushing set.
Body & Paint
Since weight reduction is just as effective as adding power, Bob made sure to take action. He replaced the hood and fenders with aluminum pieces from Auto Metal Direct. The header panel, cowl, spoiler, and decklid are all carbon fiber. He smoothed the body with the removal of locks, emblems, and trim. The idea wasn't to flaunt the spendy materials, but to downplay them by covering them with a coat of Sikken's custom-mixed paint sprayed by 401 Restos in Coventry, Rhode Island.
Bob wanted to retain the look of the factory deluxe interior the car came with, but with the comfort and styling cues of a modern car. This meant wrapping the factory dash and door panels with leather that matches the custom C6 Corvette seats. The stitchwork was handled by N.E. Trim in Shrewbury, Massachusetts. Steering goes through a Flaming River wheel and tilt column. Every wire was replaced with an Isis Multiplex wiring system and powers an impressive stereo system. This car rocks a Pioneer head unit with all the goodies: Bluetooth, navigation, DVD player, and MP3 player. The Kicker 700-watt amp powers the all-Kicker 4-inch front speakers, and a pair of 6.5-inch and 6x9-inch rears. A 400-watt amp powers two 8-inch subwoofers enclosed in a custom trunk box.
Wilwood brakes stop this Camaro with 14-inch rotors and six-piston billet calipers in the front and 13-inch rotors with four-piston billet calipers in the rear. The classic American Racing Torque Thrust 2s in 9.5x18 and 11x18 sizes are wrapped in Falken Azenis 275/35R18 and 315/30R18 tires.